According to two sources familiar with the matter, Senate Democrats plan to give $1,400 checks to fewer people as part of a deal reached with President Joe Biden.
Any American who filed a single tax return and earns up to $75,000 will receive the maximum sum until it starts to decrease at incomes higher than that. The Senate bill, however, will cut off benefits at $80,000, rather than zeroing out at $100,000 earnings as the previous Covid-19 relief bill does.
Incomes up to $150,000 for married couples filing jointly will also get the full sum. Rather than stopping payments at $200,000, the Senate bill would stop them at $160,000 in earnings.
The proposed proposal will make the entire $1,400 available to taxpayers filing as heads of households who receive less than $112,500, with the allowance zeroing out at $120,000.
The payments would essentially be phased out at a quicker pace under the new plan, which came one day after Biden met with moderate Democratic senators who expressed some reservations and suggested that the relief be more specifically tailored.
However, it will retain the vital $1,400 top-line figure for the vast majority of recipients, a campaign pledge that Biden was adamant about keeping. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock used it as a closing pitch in the Georgia runoffs in January, which helped Democrats win two seats and take control of the Senate.
According to one of the reports, the Senate bill, like the House bill that passed early Saturday, would keep federal unemployment insurance at $400 per week until August.
The $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill is set to move forward in the Democratic-controlled Senate as early as Thursday, with a final vote possible by the end of the week.
Party leaders are also waiting for a score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office confirming that the bill complies with reconciliation laws, which allows Democrats in an equally divided Senate to circumvent the filibuster and pass the bill with a simple majority.
The latest round of $1,400 stimulus checks has been limited for the second time by Democrats. To please progressives, the House bill phased out the $1,400 payments a little faster than previous bills, with couples earning $199,000 getting no money instead of some money in previous bills.
The agreement will also affect up to $1,400 in dependent compensation per dependent.
Some Democrats argued against narrowing the eligibility requirements, claiming that it would enrage people who had received cash payments in previous rounds under Trump’s administration and didn’t want to be left out this time.
Before it can be sent to Biden’s desk, House Democratic leaders must pass the same version as the Senate. House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-South Carolina, said Wednesday that he was unaware of the specifics of the Senate bill to restrict eligibility for the payments.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., a member of the leadership, warned that the bill may have unintended consequences “”We’ll take a look at it,” he said, referring to the “adverse effects” in high-cost areas like New York City. I’d like to see the figures.”